Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Western Sahara: Treading a mined path to freedom

Hot with anger and clutching a stone, Brahim Labid abandoned caution and charged straight into a minefield towards the defences of the Moroccan army.

“When I got close I tried to throw the stone and at that moment the explosion happened,” said Mr Labid, 19, a refugee from Western Sahara.

The accident happened in April, when Mr Labid joined a protest march beneath a security barrier that seals most of the desert territory annexed by neighbouring Morocco in 1975 as Spanish colonisers departed following the death of the dictator Francisco Franco.

The march ended in disaster when an anti-personnel mine blew off most of Mr Labid’s right foot. “I knew there were mines,” he said from a hospital bed in the nearby city of Tindouf, Algeria. “But when you see the berm up close you just lose your patience.”MORE HERE

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